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UCLA is welcoming the heat before opener

Coach Rick Neuheisel says the 'excessive heat warning' for Pasadena during the Bruins' final scrimmage at the Rose Bowl on Friday will give them a feel for the type of heat to expect in Houston on Sept. 3.

August 25, 2011|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince hands off to running back Derrick Coleman during a practice earlier this summer.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince hands off to running back Derrick Coleman… (Damian Dovarganes / Associated…)

The weather is cooperating with UCLA.

The Bruins will hold their final scrimmage Friday at the Rose Bowl, away from prying eyes and cellphone cameras, as they prepare for the opener at Houston on Sept. 3. The extra good news is the "excessive heat warning" for Pasadena.

"We don't have as many people around, so we'll get some more things done," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But the best thing about it is to play in that heat, which will be close to what we'll see in Houston."

Pasadena will have a high of 96, with a "real feel" of 102, according to Accuweather.com. The forecast for Houston on Sept. 3 — as of Thursday — is 82 degrees, with the "real feel" of 91. Thunderstorms are also in the forecast.

"We can get the feel of that heat and learn not [to] give in to it," Neuheisel said.

The scrimmage is unlikely to result in the naming of a quarterback, though Kevin Prince continues to take almost all his reps with the first team.

Prince, who won the job the last two years, had a solid day Thursday. He finished it by completing six of seven passes in the two-minute drill. The drive ended with Prince placing a high throw where 6-foot-8 Joseph Fauria could get to the ball. Fauria made a one-handed catch at the back of the end zone.

It made for a perfect moment to name Prince the starter, but it was Neuheisel's turn to pass.

Asked whether he thought the quarterbacks would like to know now, Neuheisel said, "I'm sure they do; moreover, I think their parents do. I'm not trying to be hard on anybody."

Neuheisel did give a little ground on the daily quarterback questioning, saying he would name the starter before game day.

"I don't want to make it uncomfortable for anybody," he said.

A little chitchat

Ever wonder what receivers and defensive backs talk about on the field?

Wide receiver Nelson Rosario snagged a deep pass from Prince with cornerback Aaron Hester draped on him like a cape.

After the play …

Hester: "Did you catch that?"

Rosario: "Hell, yeah."

Hester: "Really?"

Rosario: "Ask everybody."

Willis update

Brandon Willis, the much-traveled defensive tackle, was expected to be at UCLA on Thursday to meet with Neuheisel, according to a person in the program who is not authorized to speak on the matter.

Willis, who transferred from UCLA in the spring, left North Carolina last month after Tar Heels coach Butch Davis was fired. He hopes to receive a waiver from the NCAA so he can be immediately eligible.

Willis first committed to Tennessee but signed with North Carolina. He transferred to UCLA last summer and sat out as a redshirt. He returned to North Carolina last spring and enrolled in classes this summer.

Quick hits

F-back Damien Thigpen (hamstring injury) increased his running Thursday. He said he expected to be ready for the Houston game. … Linebacker Patrick Larimore left practice early to attend to a family matter. He will also miss the scrimmage Friday.

chris.foster@latimes.com

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